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A Residential Campus

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SHoP Architects co-founder Gregg Pasquarelli sat down with Fulbright to describe the process and inspiration that distinguishes Fulbright’s campus design and development.

To Build From the Ground Up

Why was SHoP first interested in the Fulbright campus project?

SHoP was interested in working on the Fulbright campus here in Ho Chi Minh for a variety of reasons. First of all, to envision a university from the ground up is an amazing experience and opportunity.

Secondly, I think Fulbright has challenged us to almost rethink what higher education is and to bring the ideals of the Vietnam and the ideals of the United States together in a single building, in a single campus, is an incredibly interesting opportunity. So, as architects, we were just thrilled with the challenge.

What aspect of the Fulbright project most excites you personally?

What excites me personally about the Fulbright project is to think that we are trying to design a campus and a school that will help the lives of thousands of young people, many of whom are not even born yet.

So, to sit here at this point and try to think about what will help people see the world in a different way 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now is incredibly inspirational. It makes me get excited every day when I wake up and start to draw.

SHoP mentioned “spaces for innovation.” We’re wondering what does SHoP do to support, build, and craft a “space for innovation?”

SHoP is fortunate enough that not only do we innovate within our own company and that it is a huge part of our culture, probably almost half our space in the office is just open. It doesn’t have desks. It doesn’t have rooms. It’s a place that can constantly change. So, we can test out new technologies.

We can test out new ideas. We can meet and talk and have groups come together to try and tackle really interesting challenges that we’re facing in the world. We’re also very lucky in the fact that we get to work for some of the best and most advanced technology companies in the world.

We’re building a lot of buildings in New York and in Silicon Valley. So, we see that these companies are doing the same thing as well.

Spaces that we can’t even envision today how a student in 10 or 20 years might use it. It’s about giving students the opportunity to control their own destiny, to invent their own ideas, and to solve problems in the world that we don’t know what they are at this point. So it’s that openness – that ability to gather – that is incredibly important.

Friendly. To the Environment and With Society.

Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City is moving toward being a ‘smarter’ city. What does SHoP envision a sustainable campus being? What does sustainability mean to you?

Ho Chi Minh City is an incredibly interesting and thriving metropolis. As a born and raised New Yorker, when I arrived here the first time, I felt the same energy in Ho Chi Minh that I feel in Manhattan every day. It’s diverse. It’s vibrant. It’s interesting. It’s growing. It’s young. It’s looking towards the future.

So, when I think about designing buildings in cities around the world, you try and tap into that energy. As a growing city – as in all the cities that are coastal – we’re facing big issues with sea level change, with climate change. We have to try and think about what that university will be, and what the conditions will be decades from now.

So, sustainability is incredibly important not just in the sense of technology having photovoltaic panels or other kinds of things. But also what the buildings feel like. How do they deal with the sun? How do they deal with the wind? How do they deal with sea level change?

The most sustainable thing you can do as an architect is make buildings that people love and that they take care of and that use high quality materials that last a long time.

You don’t want people to rip things down and renovate them every 20 years. That’s an environmental disaster. But building buildings that last 50, 100 200 years? That’s the most sustainable thing you can do.

What do you think defines a SHoP project?

A SHoP project is different than, I think, many other architects where they have a definitive, signature style. They always use a particular color, a particular shape, or a particular form.

SHoP is incredibly interested in working closely with our clients, thinking about the local context, using traditional materials, and taking those materials and using cutting-edge technology – laser cutters, robots – to take traditional materials and reinvent them into a new way of looking at those materials for the 21st century.

Are there ways that the general public can follow and be aware of what SHoP is doing?

I’m very fortunate to be a founding partner at SHoP and to have helped start this firm with my partners almost 20 years ago. We are working on incredibly diverse projects all over the world. Sometimes it’s hard for even me to keep up with everything we’re doing and innovating.

That’s what makes it exciting to go into the office every day, and to travel around the world, and to be able to connect with amazing clients like Fulbright. Right now, we have 19 major projects under construction around the world.

So, over the next two years many of these projects are going to be finished, and there will be a lot of press about them. You’ll be able to read quite a bit about them. But the best way to connect is when you are in New York is to stop by the firm and say hi. We’re constantly changing what we’re doing.

SHoP as Participants, Observers, and Learners

We’re wondering whether there will be possible workshops, discussions, meet and greets with the general public in HCM while planning, working, and constructing.

We would love to start to think about a public outreach process. On some of our projects we’ve had 20, 30, 40 meetings with the public and have people come in, show them the model, show them the ideas, talk about what we’re trying to do. We love listening to feedback. We love public engagement.

We also envision when the campus gets built that it’s not going to be a campus that has a wall around it and only people who are students and faculty have access. We see it as an asset for Ho Chi Minh City and an asset for Vietnam as a whole.

Anyone is welcome to walk on that campus, to meet the students, to talk to professors, to see what’s going on and to see the interaction. We’re designing the campus in a way that will always be welcoming.

You visited a lot of architectural places in Vietnam.  What impressed you the most?

I think that what is interesting in Vietnam is the traditional Vietnamese village planning, how it’s different in the north, in the central, and in the south. Just learning that difference over thousands of years, how it emerged. Then to see the French colonial influences on the architecture. Then to see the Western influences on the architecture.

But most importantly to see how Vietnam is bringing these things together. I think that we haven’t even seen yet what a true Vietnamese architecture is going to be, because it’s going to blend those thousand years of history and what’s coming next in a country that is filled with so many young people looking toward the future.

I hope that our project is one tiny, little part that can push those visions forward. It’s just an amazing country and an amazing place to spend time.

What does SHoP hope to learn about Vietnam while working on the campus?

I want to learn how to be a better Vietnamese cook, for sure, because the food is so good here! It’s amazing!

I really will say this: Vietnam has an energy and an incredibly positive attitude about the future. It is a place that I just love being every time I come here.  I’m happy. I’m energized. I’m inspired. The people are fantastic. They’re smart. They’re driven. You can see that it’s really a country about the future.

We feel honored to be able to spend time here and to be able to design a building that we think is going to be very important for the future of Vietnam. I can tell you that we have already learned so much just by spending time here.

But, definitely, I want to be a better Vietnamese cook.

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(English below) CƠ HỘI CUỐI CÙNG THAM GIA CHƯƠNG TRÌNH ASEAN SOCIAL IMPACT PROGRAM 2024: CHÍNH THỨC MỞ ĐƠN TUYỂN ĐỢT 2 🌟 Sau khi cân nhắc kỹ lưỡng, ASIP rất vui mừng thông báo ĐỢT TUYỂN THỨ HAI chính thức được mở, bởi chúng tôi luôn đánh giá cao những hạt nhân thay đổi trẻ tuổi, đam mê, tài năng, luôn tự thúc đẩy bản thân để giải quyết các vấn đề xã hội và hướng tới một cộng đồng tốt đẹp hơn. Chương trình ASEAN Social Impact Program - tài trợ bởi USAID trong khuôn khổ hợp tác với Đại học Fulbright Việt Nam. Chương trình mong muốn trang bị cho thế hệ trẻ kiến thức, kỹ năng và nguồn lực để sẵn sàng đối mặt và giải quyết những vấn đề xã hội. Với mối quan tâm lớn tới sức khỏe con người hậu COVID-19, chủ đề năm nay của ASIP24 là “Sức khỏe và Tinh thần”. 👉Đăng ký tham gia ngay tại: bit.ly/JoinASIP24 📆 Thời gian nộp đơn: 23:59 PM (giờ Việt Nam, GMT+7), ngày 14 tháng 04 năm 2024 📌Thông tin chi tiết về ASIP24: bit.ly/AboutASIP24 📌 Hãy theo dõi ASEAN Social Impact Program để cập nhật tin tức mới nhất! ________________________________________________________ FINAL CALL FOR ASEAN SOCIAL IMPACT PROGRAM 2024: BATCH 2 APPLICATION IS OFFICIALLY OPEN 🌟 We are delighted to officially open THE SECOND BATCH of applications as we value passionate, talented young leaders with visions of promising future. The ASEAN Social Impact Program is funded by USAID within the partnership with Fulbright University Vietnam. We aim to equip young change-makers with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to tackle these social issues. In light of the grave concerns about human health following COVID-19, ASIP24's theme is “Good health and Wellbeing” - SDG Goal #3. 👉Apply NOW: bit.ly/JoinASIP24 📆 Deadline: 11:59 PM (Vietnam Time, GMT+7), April 14, 2024 📌 About ASIP24: bit.ly/AboutASIP24 📌 Stay tuned to the ASEAN Social Impact Program for the latest news!

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(English below) ✨ LỜI CHÚC NĂM GIÁP THÌN 2024 ✨ Bước sang thềm năm mới Giáp Thìn, Đại học Fulbright Việt Nam xin được gửi đến mọi nhà lời chúc tốt đẹp nhất 🐉 Với trái tim tràn đầy hy vọng hoà cùng niềm vui đầu năm, chúng tôi vô cùng trân trọng sự tin tưởng và hỗ trợ vô giá Fulbright nhận được trong hành trình vừa qua, là động lực hướng đến những điều tuyệt vời sẽ tiếp nối trong năm nay 🌟 Nhân dịp năm Rồng, Fulbright xin kính chúc vạn sự hanh thông, mọi niềm mong thành hiện thực 🌟 --- ✨ HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR 2024 ✨ As we step into New Year, the Year of the Dragon, Fulbright University Vietnam would like to extend our best wishes to everyone 🐉 With hearts filled with hope and joy as we embark on the new year, we deeply appreciate the invaluable trust and support Fulbright has received on our journey thus far, serving as motivation towards the wonderful things that will continue in the year ahead 🌟 As the Dragon's year unfolds its tale, Fulbright extends wishes, setting sail. Prosperity's breeze, in every gale, May dreams come true, without fail 🌟

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